NZ Metro TC 3 March 2022 – R2 – Dean Taylor

ID: RIB7720

Respondent(s):
Dean Taylor - Trainer

Applicant:
Nigel McIntyre, Manager of Stewards

Adjudicators:
Russell McKenzie

Persons Present:
Mr McIntyre and Driver John Morrison (representing the Respondent)

Information Number:
A16622

Decision Type:
Adjudicative Decision

Charge:
Presenting two runners with incorrect saddlecloths

Rule(s):
849(2) - Checking Out

Plea:
Admitted

Animal Name:
BAILEYS DIAMOND and BEST TRIO

Code:
Harness

Race Date:
03/03/2022

Race Club:
NZ Metropolitan Trotting Club Inc

Race Location:
Addington Raceway - 75 Jack Hinton Drive, Addington, Christchurch, 8024

Race Number:
R2

Hearing Date:
03/03/2022

Hearing Location:
Addington Raceway, Christchurch

Outcome: Proved

Penalty: Trainer Dean Taylor fined $350

SUMMARY OF FACTS:

Following the running of Race 2, NZB Standardbred Mobile Pace, an Information was filed by Manager of Stewards, Nigel McIntyre, alleging that the Respondent Trainer, Dean Taylor, breached Rule 849(2) in that he presented BAILEYS DIAMOND and BEST TRIO, trained by him, with the wrong numbered saddlecloths – BAILEYS DIAMOND (Robbie Close) was presented with saddlecloth 8 instead of 5 and BEST TRIO (John Morrison) with saddlecloth 5 instead of 8 – resulting in both horses being late scratched by Stewards.

Rule 849(2) provides:

The trainer, driver or person in control of each horse in the race shall ensure that the proper numbered saddlecloth is attached prior to the horse parading in the assembly area.

The Respondent was represented at the hearing by Driver, John Morrison.

EVIDENCE:

Manager of Stewards, Nigel McIntyre, said that the two horses were driven by the correct Drivers, but the horses were checked out with the incorrect saddlecloth numbers.

Using the available video evidence, Mr McIntyre demonstrated that BAILEYS DIAMOND, driven by Mr Close and carded to carry saddlecloth 5, had carried number 8 and had started from barrier position 8 from the 1980 metres mobile start, and BEST TRIO, driven by Mr Morrison and carded to carry saddlecloth 8, had carried number 5 and had started from barrier position 5.

In response, Mr Morrison said that Mr Taylor had made an “honest mistake”. He had two horses in the race and was by himself. He had simply put the wrong numbers on the wrong horses, he said. Mr Taylor has trained over 500 winners and has not committed any similar breach in that time as far as he, Mr Taylor, could remember. Mr Taylor was very embarrassed, Mr Morrison said, but he believed that the usual checking process had failed him on this occasion. The mistake should have been picked up as the horses were going out onto the track, Mr Morrison said.

Asked by the Adjudicative Committee whether he might have realised the mistake himself before the race, Mr Morrison said that he normally studies the field beforehand but tonight, being busy with five drives, he had relied on the saddlecloth number 5 for his starting position.

Mr McIntyre pointed out that it is the strict responsibility of a Trainer to present his horse or horses for a race wearing the correct saddlecloth number(s). It is a “fundamental requirement” of a Trainer, he said.

DECISION:

The charge is admitted by the Respondent and is therefore deemed proved.

SUBMISSIONS FOR PENALTY:

Mr McIntyre said that, luckily for the punters, the two horses concerned had been late scratched giving them their money back. He referred to Rule 213(1)(k), which came into force on 20 October 2021:

A Stipendiary Steward at any time may scratch from a race any horse on all or any of the following grounds:

If there are other reasonable circumstances which, in the opinion of a Stipendiary Steward, warrant that horse being scratched.

The two horses had been late scratched under this provision rather than the Stewards seeking disqualification, in which event the punters would have lost their money, Mr McIntyre said. The two late scratchings also resulted in a reduction in dividends paid on the race and a loss in turnover to the Club. In addition, the owners of the two horses had been denied the opportunity to compete for stake money, he said.

Given those factors, Mr McIntyre said, Mr Taylor has been charged by way of an Information, rather being dealt with under the Minor Infringement Scheme.

Stewards were seeking a fine of $300, Mr McIntyre said.

Mr Morrison said that a fine of  $300 was “not too bad” but submitted that the failure, in the checking process, to pick up the switch of numbers was a contributing/mitigating factor.

REASONS FOR PENALTY:

The Adjudicative Committee noted that the penalty under the Minor Infringement Scheme for presenting a horse for a race with the incorrect saddlecloth is a $100 fine. The present breach is not a “minor infringement”.

It was fortunate that neither of the horses involved finished in a dividend or stakes bearing position. Fallout from the breach was thereby minimised, and both horses were declared late scratchings by the Stewards pursuant to Rule 213(1)(k).

It was still a serious mistake by the Respondent and it is not acceptable for him to claim that the mistake should have been picked up by the usual checking process prior to the horses going onto the track. There is a strict liability on the person applying a saddlecloth to ensure that it is placed on the correct horse. A Trainer is not entitled to rely on any mistake on his or her part being noticed in the checking process and rectified. The breach has already been committed when the horse has been presented in the assembly area (“the area where horses are assembled prior to entering the track for the purposes of a race”).

What makes the facts of this case beyond the “minor infringement” category, obviously, is the fact that the horses competed in the race, with the consequences that flowed from that. These were referred to by Mr McIntyre in his penalty submissions. The Adjudicative Committee believes that the exercise by the Stewards of their discretion to declare the two horses late scratchings was a proper one.

There is no similar case of which the Adjudicative Committee is aware to assist it in determining penalty. The Adjudicative Committee is unaware of any previous case in which two horses actually raced with incorrect numbers. The case is seemingly unique. The penalty has been arrived at taking into account the submissions of the parties, Mr Taylor’s admission of the breach and his undoubted good record.

PENALTY:

Trainer, Dean Taylor, is fined $350.

Decision Date: 03/03/2022

Publish Date: 04/03/2022